February 25, 2011
Jersey Jubilee of Joy
This show just kicks butt. This was the last show at this legendary venue for the boys complete with an April’s Fool Day gag of Promised Land with everybody playing each other’s instruments, a punchy raucous performance and killer recording to match. First set is pretty great though a bit short. However, it includes one of the best-ever versions Friend of Devil with a stunning and extended Garcia solo due to Bobby missing his cue for his normal spot between Brent and Jerry.
Set II is fantastic all the way through. There is a very generous 60 minutes of great music before Drums in the second set. An eleven-minute scalding Other One preceded by a 13-minute Estimated that substitutes a cool Brent piano at the beginning of the jam followed by typical Jerry wah-wah then a straight fat tone part before winding into an exquisite He’s Gone. . The post-Drums section is short but sweet with impassioned Garcia singing in Stella that benefits from coming directly out of Space. Then a Shakedown encore to leave everyone presumably blissfully satisfied.
You can take your April ’77 Passaic’s, this in my humble opinion, just blows it away. Screaming hot rather than silky smooth. It was legendary shows like this and the subsequent Fall ’80 acoustic/electric Radio City shows that had the band moving up to large venues like Madison Square Garden forever. They were still great there (see 1981-03-09 & 1981-03-10 Steve Rolfe recordings with Charlie Miller mastering and onward).
Kudos to Barry and all the other fellas and the MOTB crew for bringing this to life for us. And no offense on the source recommendation for them MSG gigs, but ya gotta admit they are pretty perfect.